Anaheim Union High School District requires student activism and political engagement in Ethnic Studies courses


Parents Defending Education has received documents via public records request indicating that Anaheim Union High School District has approved sixteen Ethnic Studies courses in various disciplines including Spanish, English, dance, and theater.

The first Ethnic Studies course approved and offered within the district, “Cultural Experiences in America,” seeks to “provide an emancipatory education.” The course hopes to teach students how “their identities, including race, ethnicity, culture, and nationality” are “socially constructed.” The course also requires students to “participate in grassroots community organization” and study “internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression.”

Other approved classes like “English I: Ethnic Studies,” also promote political activism aiming to “encourage agency and student voice through the use of present social reform, political movements, and social justice topics. The course’s goal is for students to “become more socially and politically aware” and to “see themselves as active agents of change by understanding the marginalization and systems of power in society.”

Students can also be trained as activists in the theater class “Ethnic Studies Theater: The Art of Storytelling.” The course aims for students to critique “social constructs that have been conditioned through systems of oppression and underrepresentation as well as misrepresentation to find and develop their own voices through the medium of theater.” It also requires students to participate in community-centered “Project Based Learning Assignments” to “foster active consciousness, social engagement, and agency” as they study “the histories of race, indigeneity, ancestry, national origin, diaspora, racism, hegemony, ethnic, and culture.”

All courses were approved by the district fall 2022.